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How to survive the recovery workout

Easy Workouts. We all have them and for some of us they’re the hardest to complete correctly. Like most people drawn to triathlon, I have a deeply ingrained belief that in order to get faster I need to work as hard as I can all the time. Or, as I like to say, Get Ugly Out There! Unfortunately, taking this approach leaves you fatigued and unable to execute your hard sessions properly. I combat the urge to go too hard by finding ways to get faster during my easier sessions without cranking up the intensity. These are some of the things that have worked for me.

Fine-tune your pre-race meal. I dialled in the specifics of my pre-race meal and coffee by experimenting before easy sessions. I have also done the complete opposite (a la Peter Reid) and eaten absolutely awful foods seconds before my easy runs (think spicy greasy nachos). The goal of this is to practice the horrendous feeling of running while your gut has shut down. It is a great way to get a healthy dose of suffering in while keeping the intensity low!

Stay in the aero position for the entire ride. This is great for both outdoor rides and trainer rides. The goal is to train yourself to physically and mentally sustain that position. Aerobars. The whole time. It’s harder than you think.

Do your ride exactly how you would if you were racing. Just lower your effort. Only stand when you would stand, sit when you would sit, drink when you would drink, go aero when you would go aero. If your route is low on traffic take the same lines you would take. To make the workout even better, pick the course of your favourite local race.

Get your partner to come out with you. So this one doesn’t directly make you faster. But indirectly it will. I like to do easy session with my girlfriend as it keeps the workout fun and mentally gives me a boost leaving me pumped to smash my next hard session. It also helps to build up some relationship Karma to prepare for my future taper-tantrums!